To recreate the MotoGP bike’s maneuvering feel, the materials, surface treatment processes, manual procedures and methods used in manufacturing the S are similar to those used in the RC213V, and different from those used in typical mass-production models. An exclusive workshop was set up in Honda’s Kumamoto factory devoted to RC213V-S manufacturing, where on unit is produced per day.
The RC213V-S was created by a team in Honda’s Motorcycle R&D Center, or HGA; members of the team had past development experience on the RC211V and RC212V (the original four-stroke 1000cc MotoGP bike and the later, 800cc version respectively). Those two models were also developed at the Motorcycle R&D Center, whereas the RC213V (the current 1000cc MotoGP machine) has been developed by HRC.
New components added to make the bike legal for road use include lights, rearview mirrors, speedometer, a muffler with a catalyst, the license plate holders and the horn; these parts have been added without changing the basic layout of the RC213V.
For the RC213V, “ease of maneuvering” was an important goal, and to this end “thorough measures were applied to ensure mass concentration and reduced friction.” This called for individual components with light weight and precise machining, along with “superior expert skills required in manufacturing.” While these characteristics set the RC213V apart from typical mass produced models, they are applied to the RC213V-S.
One design criteria for good performance is concentration of mass, which reduces the moment of inertia and makes the motorcycle easier to maneuver. To this end, parts that are relatively far from the center of gravity are made as light as possible, while heavy components are placed as close to the center of gravity as possible; this helps reduce inertial mass as much as possible.
Also to improve mass concentration, the fuel tank is placed near the center of gravity; this also minimizes the change in the center of gravity’s position as the fuel load decreases during an event, keeping the handling behavior as constant as possible. When the RC213V-S’s Sports Kit is installed (and the lights removed), the S model’s inertial mass is very close to that of the RC213V’s.
The RC213V’s aluminum frame has high torsional rigidity for transmitting high power to the road surface. This typically increases frame weight, so only those parts contributing to torsional rigidity are made accordingly rigid and strong; thin plates are used in those areas not contributing to rigidity, in order to keep total frame mass low. The RC213V’s frame is manually TIG welded, ensuring high precision and quality. These materials and methods have been adopted as much as possible for the RC213V-S.
The RC213V has press-fit eccentric inserts in the steering head to enable changes to the rake angle without replacing the frame. While the RC213V-S uses the same settings, eccentric collars for adjustment are not supplied.
Because the fuel tank occupies space directly above the swingarm, the RC213V and V-S have swingarm bracing below the structure. The swingarms are made from press-formed aluminum with machined end pieces, assembled with manual TIG welding.
The fuel tank is manufactured using press-formed aluminum sheets, manually TIG welded to ensure high precision and quality. The shape, configuration and position of the RC213V-S is the same as that used for the RC213V.
The RC213V-S uses similar rearsets and foot controls to those used on the RC213V. While the S-model’s rearsets are adjustable, these parts on the RC213V are custom-made for each rider as needed and without adjustability, reducing weight and some parts.
To improved shifting feel, bearings are incorporated into the shafts of the shift lever.
The fork on the RC213V-S is an Ohlins TTX25 pressurized unit, similar to that used on the MotoGP machine. Dust seals have been added for road use.
The rear shock is based on the MotoGP Ohlins TTX36, with a different preload adjuster.
While the RC213V uses carbon brakes in dry weather, the S uses stainless discs based on the design of the brakes used in the rain on the MotoGP bike. The disc hubs are machined from aluminum (production parts are typically stamped), as they are on the MotoGP bike.
Front and rear calipers are the same Brembo components used on the RC213V, as are the brake and clutch master cylinders.
The folding brake and clutch levers on the S are the same components as used on the MotoGP bike; a remote brake adjuster is part of the optional Sports Kit.
While the 2015 MotoGP bike used 16.5-inch wheels, the RC213V-S is equipped with 17-inch forged magnesium wheels made by Marchesini with the same design. Tires are commercially available Bridgestone RS10.
The S-model’s steering damper is in the same location as on the RC213V, ahead of the steering head. The damper body itself is the same part as used on the RCV1000R, Honda’s Open-class MotoGP machine.
Bodywork on the RC213V-S is fabricated from pre-preg carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP), as it is on the RC213V, and provides the best balance of strength and weight.
According to the press material, the RC213V bodywork is designed in the wind tunnel to “match the build of the factory team riders competing in races.
A minimized frontal area having a shape with very little unevenness has reduced air resistance, helping increase maximum speed.” Additionally, decreasing the lateral area of the bodywork parts that are far from the center of gravity contributes to nimble handling.
The RC213V-S has a monocoque seat cowl made of CFRP, eliminating the need for a subframe and reducing weight; this design also frees up room for the lower portion of the tank to fit.
The mirrors are mounted on the handlebar lever guards, eliminating the need for a fairing mount and enabling the bodywork to more closely resemble the MotoGP bike’s.
Say what you will about Honda’s road-going MotoGP replica the RC213V-S and its disappointing 101 horsepower in US spec, it’s a stunning piece of equipment and the closest most riders will get to ever throwing a leg over a true MotoGP machine. Honda released an extensive press kit with the bike’s introduction last year, which delves into more detail about the RC213V-S and the differences between it and the RC213V , Honda’s real MotoGP bike.
Here in part 1 we look at the bike’s chassis, via a series of images from the press kit. Scroll through the gallery above to see the images and find out more about the RC213V-S. In part 2 we will cover the bike’s engine with another image gallery.